Katy Yocom, Associate Administrative Director, Spalding University MFA
An MFA isn’t a degree like law or engineering, where you’re pretty sure you’re launching yourself into a lucrative career. Most people I know pursue an MFA because they have an unshakable passion for writing, because they feel driven—sometimes in the middle of their lives—to step off the expected path and do this thing that doesn’t make any sense at all, except that they can no longer pretend it’s okay not to do it. Continue reading “Bang for your buck: Cost, affordability, and what to look for when shopping for an MFA program”
Eleanor Morse, Spalding MFA Faculty, Fiction
How often do you pause in the middle of writing a sentence, in search of a word or phrase that describes exactly what you mean? You might keep going, leave a blank space in the text, and trust that what you need will pop out when you least expect it. Or you might sit and stare and wait for it. Or you might hunt it down relentlessly until you find it. However you seek it, there’s a moment when that word or phrase drops into place, and you know it’s right. Continue reading “The Right Word”
At the MFA residency this fall, we are honoring Sena Jeter Naslund as she retires from the MFA program at the end of the year and turns her attention to new creative projects. Leading up to the residency, I have been thinking not only about what’s brought us to this point in the MFA program but I have also been anticipating the future! Continue reading “Looking Back on the Brink of Looking Forward”
Interview by Caitlin McCann, Originally appeared in StorySouth, Back Issue #41
Kathleen Driskell’s most recent book, Next Door to the Dead, is a Kentucky Voices selection published by The University Press of Kentucky. In this collection of poetry, Driskell reflects upon the experience of living next door to a graveyard. A graveyard she was initially led to believe was full, essentially inactive. She quickly discovered the opposite was true when one afternoon she had to bring in groceries while a funeral was being held next door—a moment she recounts in “Living Next to the Dead Acre.” Then there are also the teenagers who think themselves to be bold and cool to creep around a cemetery in the middle of the night, which she writes about in “What Haunts” But Driskell does not stay on our plane of existence for very long. The poems shift into the perspectives of the graveyard’s inhabitants, thus creating a community that would not otherwise exist. Each neighbor’s resurrected voice is distinct, relatable, and poignant. Driskell’s ability to make the 167-year-old death of a mother and her infant in “Markers” feel fresh and personal is astounding. Driskell writes of her neighbors with such tenderness and reverence. She is able to transcend the book’s focused location to deftly speak on themes and societal issues like love, war, fried chicken, and the female mummy in “Tchaenhotep: Mummy at the Kentucky Science Center” who is doomed to be the subject of the male gaze. Driskell’s voice as a poet is admirable—there is strength in its quietude, and it is this subtle strength that allows Next Door to the Dead to resonate long after you have read the last poem. Continue reading “Finding Love in Loss: An Interview with Kathleen Driskell”
By Katy Yocom
With summer residency in Scotland behind us, it’s time to look ahead to special sessions on the slate for the Fall 2017 Spalding MFA residency, November 10-19 in Louisville. Continue reading “A Sneak Peek at the Fall 2017 Residency”
Here’s what Spalding MFA students, alumni, faculty, and staff have been publishing, producing, and doing since our last update!
Continue reading “LIFE OF A WRITER”
Neela Vaswani, Spalding MFA Faculty, Fiction
I would venture that most writers find reading healing. Find solace in words and craft and the quiet of turning pages. I usually feel that way. But at various points in my life, when I’ve been in need of healing—from trauma or loss or illness—I’ve found myself incapable of reading. I can’t get my eyes to move horizontally across sentences. And the literary fiction I normally find comforting feels inedible. Continue reading “Books for the Dented Self”
Seeing your name in print is exciting. Seeing your name in print beside your published work is even better. But where to start? There are so many journals in existence, deciding which one is the best fit for your work can feel like drinking from a firehose. There are reading periods and closed reading periods and themed issues and page count guidelines and print vs. online and submission fees and submission managers and simultaneous submissions. There is fear—fear of rejection, fear of publication (“Oh my gosh, my mom/son/ex is going to read this!”), fear of doing the wrong thing.
Continue reading “THE ART OF THE LITERARY SUBMISSION: A Beginners’ Guide to Submitting Your Work”
by Jason Hill
Spalding MFA Coordinator of Student Services and Marketing
MFA in Writing, Spalding University
The truth is, I agreed to do a blog entry almost without thinking.
Katy Yocom suggested I write something on Denis Johnson, who died shortly before the start of the Spring 2017 residency in Louisville. No doubt she’d heard me and others talking during residency about his recent death, and because I opened my big mouth during the closing faculty and staff meeting to suggest that faculty looking for post subjects could turn to current writing-related events like Hulu’s premier of A Handmaid’s Tale or Johnson’s death. There are a lot of writers I admire, and nearly as many that I’ve stolen from as I try to craft my own style. But there are very few writers whose use of language and approach to their subjects has given me as much motivation for close study as Johnson. Continue reading “YOU START OUT CONFUSED & END UP MYSTIFIED: An appreciation of Denis Johnson”
Many people want to know, “What does an MFA in Writing at Spalding get me?” So we asked our alums of all ages and from all over the world to help us out.
Forty-eight graduates, 19 men and 29 women, starting with the first class of 2003 to the present, responded to our open question: How did the Spalding MFA in Writing low-residency program impact you professionally, creatively, and personally? Their responses extol and probe both surprising and not surprising reasons to pursue an MFA in general, and a Spalding MFA in particular. Continue reading “WHY DO AN MFA IN WRITING, AND WHY AT SPALDING UNIVERSITY?”